Mayor confirms officer’s termination, explains board’s decision to report marshal’s violation

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 10/16/19

BELLE — Following a 72-hour waiting period, Belle Mayor Josh Seaver confirmed Friday that the board of aldermen voted 4-0 in closed session Oct. 8 to terminate the employment of Belle Police …

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Mayor confirms officer’s termination, explains board’s decision to report marshal’s violation

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BELLE — Following a 72-hour waiting period, Belle Mayor Josh Seaver confirmed Friday that the board of aldermen voted 4-0 in closed session Oct. 8 to terminate the employment of Belle Police Department Capt. Kim Elrod, effective immediately.

“Yes, the city fired Officer Elrod in closed session Tuesday night,” Seaver said.

When asked why, Seaver said he would rather not say.

Belle Marshal Joe Turnbough’s wife Deborah Turnbough mentioned the termination nearly two hours later in an open session. The board had chosen to hold the information for 72-hours before releasing it.

Seaver confirmed that the board did inform Elrod of their decision prior to the beginning of the Oct. 8 open session meeting. Their decision to pursue a complaint against the marshal for revealing closed session information before the 72-hour waiting period was on principal.

“It is important to give an employee time to get their affairs in order, and by blurting that out in open session, it could potentially cause a lot of heartache for him (Elrod), and for us as well,” Seaver said.

Rumors that Elrod is currently being investigated by the Maries County Sheriff’s Department was confirmed by Sheriff Chris Heitman.

“I don’t directly know why Capt. Elrod was fired,” Heitman said. “But he is currently under investigation by my office, and there are other unethical activities being investigated by another agency as well.”

“We haven’t discussed (replacing) Capt. Elrod yet,” Seaver said. “But if we do, the vetting process will be considerably more stringent than it has in the past.”

As an elected official under Missouri law, an elected marshal may suggest an officer to the board of aldermen, but the board makes the ultimate decision to hire, or terminate, police officers.

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